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Dining Out: Il Sin Jung is a ‘fine, new restaurant’

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Il Sin Jung

271-11 Union Turnpike

New Hyde Park

962-2288

516-327-9289

fax: 962-2289

“Il sin jung.” That’s Korean, for a “fine, new restaurant.” You’ll find Il Sin Jung, a Korean-Japanese restaurant, located on Union Turnpike just West of Lakeville Road. It’s definitely “new” - just over a month old, still with a string of triangular colored flags strung outside, bobbing merrily in the wind.

And it is “fine.” I had a wonderful dining experience there just last week.

The interior is brightly lit with three sunflowers perched up high, a bit of whimsy. The rug is dark green and the tables and large comfortable chairs are blonde. A discreet grill is centered in each table. The look is clean and simple with a colorful sushi bar up front and an innovative coffee station opposite. On arrival, tea is poured into good-sized white china cups but here, a first for me, coffee is an option - an indication that Il Sin Jung aims to please.

Tempura makes a good appetizer, and at Il Sin Jung there’s crab tempura - a whole soft-shell crab dipped in a very light batter and deep fried. It’s delightful, especially when accompanied, as we did, with an appetizer of green beans. When you press the pod, a large bean pops into your mouth. Hot or cold saki goes well, but don’t overlook the plum wine, dismissing it as too sweet with an appetizer or entree. This Korean plum wine, with its tempered sweetness, works well.

We were at a loss for the entree. Should we go Japanese or Korean? A barbecue for two cooked at the table seemed just right. We chose the combination with prime short rib, thin slices of prime sirloin, pork and chicken tidbits. It would be grilled by a our young waitress. The grill was lighted and you don’t feel a bit of heat during the cooking process. And the grid is changed midway to keep things smoke free.

The Korean kimchee and an amazing array of mini dishes displaying condiments (They change every day) was arranged beforehand. Ours included celery cut on the angle with a mayonnaise-like glaze. (I found it irresistible and a second dish was offered.) There were bean sprouts, dried squid (or it may have been dried shrimp), fermented black beans, garlic and chili pepper slivers and silver dollar-sized fish pancakes. Then came an attractive platter of grillables: mounds of chicken tidbits, the shortribs, thinly sliced sirloin and marinated pork, sliced onion and mushroom. New to me was a big bowl of Romaine leaves. Our waitress used tongs to place grilleed shortrib slices on our dinner plate. We arranged them with condiments of our choice in a leaf to savor hamburger style. What fun! Then we tried the sirloin, then chicken tidbits with yet other condiments. Then we had the pork, marinated in their special sauce. More Romaine leaves were brought. A bowl of rice for each of us - brown please - was part of the barbecue feasting. It added new flavor and texture, especially since it was a sticky rice with a scattering of black beans.

I had recently noticed Romaine at Korean barbecues and was experiencing it. Delightful.

There are several barbecues for choosing, some with the special house sauce, some with sesame oil. One is all sirloin, one is 10 jumbo shrimp with barbecue sauce, and there is another, all squid, in a hot and spicy sauce.

We experienced the barbecue. There are dinner boxes, rice dishes, hot pots, broiled fish dishes and casserole and noodle dishes. On the Japanese side there's the wonderful world of sushi and sashimi as well as the famed hot dishes ---teriyaki and and tempura, udon and don kats. Dessert is ice cream, the oriental favorites - tea and red bean.

Service at Il Sin Jung, we noted, is especially gracious. All strive to make dining enjoyable. Ours certainly was. Here, the Korean barbecue, as my dining companion conrmented, is “a delightful experience.” I’ll drink plum wine to that and say in Korean, “il sin jung,” a fine new restaurant.

The Bottom Line

A fine new restaurant. Korean-Japanese cuisine. Bright, white setting. Gracious service. Coffee served as well as tea. Delightful Korean barbecues grilled at the table for two or more .

CHEF'S CHOICE

Soon Tofu Jigae (soft tofu & seafood casserole with vegetable-mild, spicy, white)...$6.95

Bulgogi Box (broiled, marinated, tender beef)...$7.95

Japchae (stir fried transparent noodles with vegtables and beef)...$11.95

Dolsot Bibimbab (mixed vegetables with rice in big stone pot)...$12.95)

Kalbi Gui (prime beef short ribs barbecued at table-minimum order for 2)...$17.95

Deluxe Sishi (9 pieces, 1 roll)...$16.95

Beef Teriyaki (beef sauteed in teriyaki sauce and salad)..$16.95

Seafood Teriyaki (broiled assorted seafood with teriyaki sauce)...$19.99

Salmon Teriyaki (broiled salmon with teriyaki sauce)...$14.99

Yaki Soba (pan-fried assorted vegetables and shrimp)...$8.95

Cuisine: Korean-Japanese

Setting: White, bright. Sushi & coffee bar.

Service: Gracious

Hours: L&D days

Reservations: Yes

Parking: Lot

Location: West of Lakeville Rd

Credit cards: All major

Takeout: Yes

Off-premise catering: Yes

Children: Share

Private parties: To 40

Noise level: quiet

Smoking: None

Handicap access: Yes

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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